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Discussion Starter · #41 ·


This is my choice. Why?
Excellent singing and conducting, never too fast.
The score is COMPLETE, no cuts that I can discern.
The acoustics of the recording are slightly reverberant, but the stereo sound is excellent.
Rigoletto is the only Verdi opera I really enjoy and I've heard a bunch.
The Serafin/Callas is the classic, but for good sound and hearing ALL the music this does it for me.
I have this. Cioni as the Duke is a bit weak as is the conducting. Sutherland is in magnificent voice but does not project the character as well as others. Mac Neil is the real star
 

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This is my choice. Why?
Excellent singing and conducting, never too fast.
The score is COMPLETE, no cuts that I can discern.
The acoustics of the recording are slightly reverberant, but the stereo sound is excellent.
Rigoletto is the only Verdi opera I really enjoy and I've heard a bunch.
The Serafin/Callas is the classic, but for good sound and hearing ALL the music this does it for me.
Sorry, but there is a very noticeable cut in the first Sutherland Rigoletto: the cadenza to 'Parmi veder le lagrime'--which is in the score, so presumably Verdi wanted it. Cioni doesn't sing it, and neither does Pavarotti in the other Sutherland recording.
 

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Late to the party, of course. Am I the only one who finds Scotto's voice in the Kubleik Rigoletto so thin, shrill and metallic as to be physically painful--whether it's the recording, mastering, or just her voice? I have to say that I find her '60s voice likewise unlistenably painful in the touted, but to me, very unsatisfying, Barbirolli Butterfly, and brutally cut Votto Traviata as well. Her earlier more cut Rigoletto (though a few are opened) with Kraus and Bastianini does not have this problem, interestingly.
 

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Late to the party, of course. Am I the only one who finds Scotto's voice in the Kubleik Rigoletto so thin, shrill and metallic as to be physically painful--whether it's the recording, mastering, or just her voice? I have to say that I find her '60s voice likewise unlistenably painful in the touted, but to me, very unsatisfying, Barbirolli Butterfly, and brutally cut Votto Traviata as well. Her earlier more cut Rigoletto (though a few are opened) with Kraus and Bastianini does not have this problem, interestingly.
Interesting--I thought she was even more shrill in the Gavazzini/Kraus/Bastianini than in the Kubelik. I think I tend to like her best in several 70s recordings--there's less of a hard edge in her voice in Adriana Lecouvreur, but then again, there are also fewer challenging high notes for her in the role.
 

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Interesting--I thought she was even more shrill in the Gavazzeni/Kraus/Bastianini than in the Kubelik. I think I tend to like her best in several 70s recordings--there's less of a hard edge in her voice in Adriana Lecouvreur, but then again, there are also fewer challenging high notes for her in the role.
I guess it really depends on the mastering. The Ricordi I have is very laid-back--and even a little boomy; no shrillness at all. The DG Kubelik Rigoletto makes Scotto ear-splitting like the DG Votto Traviata, really unpleasant. I'd have said it's DG, and maybe it is their digital transfers, but her EMI Butterfly is also wiry, thin, and sets my teeth on edge; everyone likes it but me (actually, I don't like anyone or anything about it). You are absolutely right that the mid 1970s Scotto is best. But there's not much recorded during this period: two really good recitals--Verdi, verisimo, Trittico, and...Adriana Lecouvreur which is not my style, though I have it. But on the rare occasion I want to hear that opera, I go back to Tebaldi (though Callas recorded the two interesting arias in 1954, which is kinda all I need).
 

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Sorry, but there is a very noticeable cut in the first Sutherland Rigoletto: the cadenza to 'Parmi veder le lagrime'--which is in the score, so presumably Verdi wanted it. Cioni doesn't sing it, and neither does Pavarotti in the other Sutherland recording.
So which recordings are complete?

N.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 · (Edited)
Late to the party, of course. Am I the only one who finds Scotto's voice in the Kubleik Rigoletto so thin, shrill and metallic as to be physically painful--whether it's the recording, mastering, or just her voice? I have to say that I find her '60s voice likewise unlistenably painful in the touted, but to me, very unsatisfying, Barbirolli Butterfly, and brutally cut Votto Traviata as well. Her earlier more cut Rigoletto (though a few are opened) with Kraus and Bastianini does not have this problem, interestingly.
Very disappointing. She presses far too hard. Or she is recorded too close.
 

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A damn, fine thread, which I've just now, discovered. ... I would agree, HEARTILY, with "howling" and "Woodduck", in their late-August/2017 posts about that TITLE role, and how crucial it is. In other words, it's the Golden Age baritone - Riccardo Stracciari - who's at his BEST, and the other roles, for the most part, are covered very-capably, also. There've been many, other subsequent recordings, of course, and other posts & posters have acknowledged them. I'll simply put one more vote for the Borlange fellow - Jussi Bjorling - in the title role, despite the limitations of the other vocalists. ... Finally, would like to include a Nov./1944 recording (yes, indeed, from Nazi Berlin of the time). It has NO ONE'S favorite tenor, Josef Greindl, as Sparafucile ... and the variable Helge Roswaenge, as the Duke of Mantua. What it DOES have, though, is the marvelous Gilda of Erna Berger, the Maddalena of Margarete Klose, and the versatile Georg Hann, as Graf von Monterone, with the estimable Robert Heger, conducting the forces of German opera, at the time. Moreover, it does have one of the better/best Rigolettos of all - Heinrich Schlusnus - who imparts HIS unique, inimitable stamp of vocalism and characterization. Maybe Rigoletto has never done-BETTER than by some of these excellent singers of the past - OK?
 

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^^^ There are a couple of excerpts from that recording on YouTube:



To be honest, this is a specialty item and not competitive with Italian-language versions, and I'm not tempted to hear the rest of it. The voices are distinctly non-Italianate (especially Schlusnus, whose warm, lyric tone lacks both weight and squillo), and Verdi sounds odd in German, with the consequence that the opera just doesn't seem like itself; I have the constant feeling that it's going to turn into Nicolai or Flotow. Erna Berger is always a delight, though.
 

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I'm resurrecting this thread as I have realised that I don't have a Rigoletto on DVD/Blu ray. I don't like Nucci in the title role so that rules out the Tutto Verdi recording. The only other filmed recording recommended here is the Lucic/Damrau/Florez. How is Lucic's Rigoletto? I sometimes find Damrau characterless, what is she like here? I notice there is a film of a Met performance with Pavarotti who I love as the Duke, it has Louis Quilico as Rigoletto. I like Quilico's Posa, but I wouldn't have said he is top rate, does anyone know what he is like as Rigoletto? Do you have other recommendations?

N.
 

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I don't like most of the Rigolettos on video. I don't like updating it to modern times, I don't like either Gavanelli, or Lucic who both lack the oomph, or italianità for the part. Nucci is not adequate, so that cancels many choices. I'd be stuck with the Ponnelle/Met performance; but if you don't like Gruberova or Wixell, both unusual choices, you're out of luck. Pavarotti is larger than life, literally, but a vocal paragon. It's one of those lipsynch performances.

My other choice, again a Met traditional one, is Cotrubas/Domingo/McNeil is a live telecast, very well sung but, except for McNeill who has a lot experience in the role with a huge voice, both soprano and tenor are not the ultimate choice (but all videos are flawed in some way). You could do worse.
I saw McNeil in Rio de Janeiro in 1974, and he was tremendous and filled the theater with his enormous voice.


One caveat: except for modern performances with an eye to being filmed, the Met performances were not. They were stage performances occasionally telecast, so expect the big gestures meant for the audience, no allowances made for the closeups.
 

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One caveat: except for modern performances with an eye to being filmed, the Met performances were not. They were stage performances occasionally telecast, so expect the big gestures meant for the audience, no allowances made for the closeups.
That is precisely why I am so fond of those telecasts. They are a representation of opera in the theater and those oversized gestures reflect theater. I never liked opera films but unexpectedly liked the telecasts. The current crop are all played for the cameras and seem less engaging to me. I know, I am a dinosaur, I like opera big, outsized, larger than life.

Opera is the most unrealistic form of theatre: the emotions are big, every one of them amplified by the music, the time warped. So, I think that the acting should also be outsized, not realistic but attuned to the the music drama, to its inner rhythm.
 

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That is precisely why I am so fond of those telecasts. They are a representation of opera in the theater and those oversized gestures reflect theater. I never liked opera films but unexpectedly liked the telecasts. The current crop are all played for the cameras and seem less engaging to me. I know, I am a dinosaur, I like opera big, outsized, larger than life.

Opera is the most unrealistic form of theatre: the emotions are big, every one of them amplified by the music, the time warped. So, I think that the acting should also be outsized, not realistic but attuned to the the music drama, to its inner rhythm.
I too like telecasts of opera as sung in the theatre and I generally prefer them to opera films. (Although there are some great opera films that have been done well, the Zeffirelli Traviata for one.)

N.
 

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I don't like most of the Rigolettos on video. I don't like updating it to modern times, I don't like either Gavanelli, or Lucic who both lack the oomph, or italianità for the part. Nucci is not adequate, so that cancels many choices. I'd be stuck with the Ponnelle/Met performance; but if you don't like Gruberova or Wixell, both unusual choices, you're out of luck. Pavarotti is larger than life, literally, but a vocal paragon. It's one of those lipsynch performances.

My other choice, again a Met traditional one, is Cotrubas/Domingo/McNeil is a live telecast, very well sung but, except for McNeill who has a lot experience in the role with a huge voice, both soprano and tenor are not the ultimate choice (but all videos are flawed in some way). You could do worse.
I saw McNeil in Rio de Janeiro in 1974, and he was tremendous and filled the theater with his enormous voice.


One caveat: except for modern performances with an eye to being filmed, the Met performances were not. They were stage performances occasionally telecast, so expect the big gestures meant for the audience, no allowances made for the closeups.
As I've said above, no problem with telecasts, the more operatic the better!

Thanks for your comments, I've seen parts of the Ponelle film and didn't like it (I find his films work or seem cheesy to me, love his Barber, can't get into his Nozze.)

I will give the MacNeil a go as I like Cotrubas and the opera needs a great Rigoletto for it to work for me.

N.
 

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I too like telecasts of opera as sung in the theatre and I generally prefer them to opera films. (Although there are some great opera films that have been done well, the Zeffirelli Traviata for one.)

N.
The Zeffirelli Traviata film was OK but I much preferred the earlier Met telecast of Traviata with Cotrubas, Domingo, MacNeil from 1980 or so. I have never seen a DVD of it. Does anyone know if it was ever published commercially?
 

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By age: Noté, Formichi, Piazza, Stracciari, Tibbett, Schlusnus, McFerrin, Merrill, Rawnsley.

Btw, saying that Schlusnus, a career Verdi baritone of high distinction, sounds out of place in Rigoletto is perfectly risible. As is the language snobbery, considering that all operas have been performed in translation since opera began. Some audiences actually wanted to understand what they were hearing, and I'm unaware of anybody who speaks Russian, French, English, Czech, Italian, and German at a native level.
 
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